Downey is the founder and executive director of the Center for Agricultural Business (CAB) at Purdue University. He was honored at the AFIA’s board of directors meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
AFIA’s Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor the organization bestows on members. Since 1981, only 27 individuals have received this elite award for outstanding, long-term support to AFIA and the entire feed industry. The award is not necessarily presented annually.
“AFIA is grateful for all Dr. Downey has contributed over the years,” said AFIA president and Chief Executive Officer Joel G. Newman. “He was one of the major forces behind the association’s redesign, focusing on core member values and developing AFIA’s Four Promises to Members.”
The CAB is home to the leading agribusiness executive educational program in the U.S. In his position as executive director for the CAB, Downey is responsible for the development of executive and management education programs for companies, trade associations, and public programs.
Downey is also professor emeritus for Purdue’s department of agricultural economics, where his area of focus is marketing and sales to farmers, and helping farmers make smart buying decisions. Teaching courses since 1963, he has taught over 10,000 students in agri selling and agri marketing strategy, where Purdue’s agri sales and marketing major was the first such program in the U.S. Also an expert in the changing European markets, he has taught internationally in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Eastern Europe and China.
Downey is author of AgriBusiness Management, AgriSelling: Principles and Practice and ProSelling: A Professional Approach to Selling in Agriculture and Other Industries, all widely accepted publications in the field of agribusiness and used by agricultural programs nationwide.
“Even in retirement, Dr. Downey is actively involved, currently serving as chair of the Safe Feed/Safe Food Advisory Committee and working on AFIA’s sustainability initiative. He is well-deserving of this recognition,” Newman said.
In addition to AFIA’s Distinguished Service Award, Downey has received several awards for professional excellence. In 2004, he was recognized with the “Special Boilermaker” award from the Purdue Alumni Association for “significant contributions to improve the quality of life and betterment of the educational experience for Purdue Students.”
In 2007, he was presented with the Distinguished Ag Alumni Award from the Purdue Ag Alumni Association for outstanding service to agriculture. In addition, the Mid-America Crop Protection Association presented him with the “Educator of the Year” award for his contribution to the agronomic industries.
Downey received his bachelor’s degree in agronomy, and his master’s and doctorate degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue University.